Christmas 1988 I was living in hiding. It was the first Christmas after Dad tried to kill Mom. I was working full time and had just completed my first semester of my senior year in high school. Mom was working 80 hours a week and yet still had to file bankruptcy. The two of us had the most pathetic, lonely, isolated Christmas ever. But I was 17. I knew better than to expect anything better. Imagine if I had been hoping for Santa.
I want to spoil the hell out of some random family. Really bug their eyes out with generosity like the time when I first moved to New York and I gave a six year old boy my hand held Playstation he had been coveting on the subway just as the doors were closing between us.
I'll never forget that day. His mom. The look in their eyes. The way my heart hurt. That's what I want for Christmas.
Christmas for the last 10 years or so has been pretty lame and, at most times, non-existent. Being single for years, dating a Jew and me not having any family to speak of kind of spoiled the fun for what used to be the really excited five year old inside me. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a tree, decorated or even opened a present on Christmas morning. That sucks. It really, really, really, really, really, really SUCKS.
The last two years I've traveled to Boston with Christian have been mixed blessings. (Read about 2004 and 2005.) Father Jack has since passed and it's our first Christmas as a married couple. I say fuck it and let's shake up the snow in that little cracked Christmas globe. Why go through all that fuss just to feel empty and frustrated again? So I suggested we find a family to "adopt" and have our gifts donated to them instead. We got so many wonderful things for our wedding and, well, I really don't need another set of votive candles or non-descript picture frame.
I scoured the net and found a GREAT site for NYers that helps link you to a charity based on your interests and time availability: http://www.givingwell.org/nyc/index.php. If you're in NYC looking to donate time, money, both or something else, this site can make the match and pretty much make you feel like an ass if you can't find SOMETHING generous to do. Also, www.NYCares.org has a family adoption as a list of other charities' holiday programs.
We hope to help someone through a domestic violence group (http://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/) that provides emergency shelters for families so maybe this Christmas some little kid's memories of confused isolation and fear can be all muddled up with something warm and kind and good like a Wii or something.